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Updated 4:21pm - Jul 26, 2016

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Coastal Voices: Communities need to step up to end human sex trafficking

The U.S. Senate recently passed a resolution to make Jan. 11 a National Day of Human Trafficking Awareness.

In every country throughout the world—including the U.S. — women and girls are trafficked and enslaved for sex. They are someone’s mother, daughter, sister, friend — hidden behind locked doors and pulled shades, forced against their will to engage in sex acts with dozens of men a day.

Sex trafficking — the transport of women and children within and across national borders for the purposes of sexual exploitation — is a $32 billion dollar annual industry. Right here in the U.S., an estimated 14,500-17,500 victims of human trafficking are brought in each year, most of them women and girls trafficked for sex.

Another View: Consumption-based rate won't help poor

Yet another in a long line of Crescent City sewer and water-rate hikes is in the works, even though many residents are already struggling to pay the current rate.

In the last six years, my minimum combined water and sewer bill has gone from around $62 dollars a month to about $84, and may exceed $100 after the next hike. It would be even higher if I didn’t diligently conserve water.

How are those of us who aren’t well off going to keep paying ever increasing rates, with no end in sight? I’d like to know why our city council hasn’t devised a plan to provide some sort of relief for low income ratepayers. Pacific Power provides a discount for those who can prove they need it, as does Frontier Communications.

Coastal Voices: Rebuild lives by teaching reading skills

This community knows about rebuilding lives. After the 1964 tsunami, Crescent City had to rebuild the harbor and downtown area. After the 2011 tsunami, the harbor had to be rebuilt again.

“With literacy, reading rebuilds your life,” says Phoebe Lenhart, Coordinator of Del Norte Reads.  “If you put yourself in a stimulating environment, it re-energizes you.” Lenhart compares not knowing how to read to what it might feel like living in a foreign country and not knowing the language.

Another View: Elections keep offering un-electable candidates

The presidential election is 11 months away, and I’ve already tuned out.

None of the candidates rings my bell. I yearn for a George Washington or an Honest Abe. I think it’s time to radically transform the way we elect our commander in chief.

The present system keeps shoving self-serving political hacks at us, until we can’t help but cheer when untested outsiders take center stage. At first they seem so fresh and appealing, but after we’ve had a chance to examine their track records and qualifications, we realize they’re no more fit to govern than we are.

Yes We Can: Last Chance need an emergency designation

The issue of the unstable condition of Last Chance Grade has been in the minds or residents for many years. It is in the minds of many old timers that rely on this major north-south link for commerce, business, medical, recreation, schools and untold other reasons.

When I was on the Del Norte County Board of Supervisors, my colleague David Finigan and I served on a 2-on-2 Committee with state and national parks and our goal was to be able to get a route planned that went through park land at some point on a projected eastern path. I spent five years on the transportation committee and a year and a half as its chair, working with Crescent City and Caltrans to get the ball rolling on a complex project. I felt we were making headway.

Three years ago after much discussion with now-Supervisor Roger Gitlin, Roger asked Kurt Stremberg and I to co-chair a Last Chance Grade bypass committee. This proved to be great partnership, what with Kurt’s loss of his parents at Last Chance in March 1972.

Coastal Voices: Sutter Coast still working to sustain, improve area's healthcare

A few days ago I heard a story on the radio about the people of Ft. Bragg who are very concerned about the possible closure of their only hospital. The facility is bankrupt and “is barely hanging on,” according to the report.

Sutter Coast Hospital—like so many small rural hospitals—also continues to have its share of financial ups and downs, but our leadership team remains vigilant in exploring and implementing prudent operational changes that have helped provide some near term financial stability. In addition, the Affordable Care Act (AKA Obamacare), provided much-needed health insurance coverage for many in our region. As a result, some care that would have traditionally been provided for free by Sutter Coast is now being at least partially reimbursed by the state Medi-Cal program.

At the same time that our leadership team has been working hard to preserve high quality service offerings and improve Sutter Coast’s financial health, we’ve also had to invest a lot of time and money over the past several months into fighting a lawsuit having to do with details relating to the donation of the property where Sutter Coast Hospital stands today.

Coastal Voices: Hard look at Ward, grand jury needed

It has now been nearly six months since the publication of the 2014 Grand Jury findings and the subsequent uproar over those findings regarding the DNSWMA. After a laughable and tepid response by the Authority's director to the charges laid by the Grand Jury and continued questions concerning both the report and the direction of the Commission in the current year isn't it about time someone actually looked into both the 2014 Grand Jury's path to the findings in the report as well as looking into Mr. Ward's empire.

If anyone with an open mind had attended just a few of the meetings of the DNSWMA in 2014 and simply listened, It was plainly obvious that Mr. Ward and his cabal were actively working against the three commissioners on the 2014 board to pursue a certain agenda.  The R3 Consulting Group's report quite clearly put a stake in the heart of Mr. Ward's agenda, placing certain members of the  2014 Commission squarely in the path of the ire of Mr. Ward and his Group.  When they didn't get their way, low and behold along comes a Grand Jury report placing the entire blame on certain members of that commission.  Maybe once an investigation of that Grand Jury occurs the Public can have some confidence in Del Norte Grand Juries going forward.

Thanksgiving Thoughts: Choosing between the two for a happy Thanksgivng

I was driving home tonight from Klamath, where I’m blessed to have a job working in child protection for the Yurok Tribe. It was one of those nights, windblown with the rain descending in sheets, the sparse traffic crawling along the 101, cursing some of those turns you can meet yourself on, when I went to one of those default settings that can come unannounced out of left field sometimes when the gas in your tank goes somewhere between half empty and dry. You look in the rear view mirror, taking a gut check, and then the pages somehow turned to some words I put to paper six years ago…

Coastal Voices: Missing crab on Thanksgiving, but safety comes first

The North Coast is undeniably crab-country. Our traditionally cold coastal waters have been perfect for producing some of our nation’s healthiest crab harvests.

This harvest, a time honored tradition since the mid 1800s here in Northern California, represents a change of season. We gather with our neighbors at local markets to purchase the freshest crab just days after the season opens. We come together to celebrate the holidays with friends and family by cracking crab and thousands of us roll up our sleeves and attend crab feed after crab feed to support our best local charities — usually toting personal butter warmers and lemon wedges.

Another View: No easy way to tell whos who

America was built by immigrants and refugees. Inscribed on the base of the Statue of Liberty is this: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” When we hear about refugees fleeing from terror and death in Syria and Iraq, our first best impulse is to open our arms wide and welcome them. Then we recall the massacre in Paris, and hesitate. 

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